e live in a very busy world; we are always doing something, usually many things at the same time. Our activities and our thoughts over-lap in a continuous bombardment. In this article I want to deal with the issue Meditation Explained.
My question to you is when did you last take any time to do nothing? Totally undisturbed, with no phone, no TV etc?
The mind is our most valuable resource through which we experience every single moment of our life. We rely on it to be happy, content, emotionally stable, kind, thoughtful and considerate. Also to be focused, spontaneous, creative. But most of us take no time out to look after our mind. We spend more time looking after our cars, clothes, hair.
The result is that we get stressed. The mind becomes like a washing machine, whizzing around with lots of random thoughts and emotions, and we don’t know how to control this. We become so distracted that we are no longer present in the world we live in. We miss out on the most important things. People are more interested in taking a picture on their phone to post on Facebook or Instagram than they are in actually experiencing the moment for themselves.
I really discovered the benefits of meditation when I became Buddhist. I travelled to Bangkok and spent several weeks living with the Buddhist monks and learning as much as I could about meditation. But like the Dalai Lama, my beliefs are not only spiritual, but I also require hard scientific evidence. What I learnt was that the best way to live our lives is to be in the present moment. Not being lost in thought about the past, or worrying about the future, not being distracted or overwhelmed by difficult emotions. Instead learning how to be in the here and now, how to be mindful and how to be in the present. It sounds so ordinary and easy, but the truth is that it is anything but ordinary.
A few years ago a research paper from Harvard concluded that our minds are lost in thought almost 47% of the time. This constant mind wondering is also one of the main causes of unhappiness. Our lives are short, so to spend almost half of our life lost in thought and potentially unhappy is tragic. Especially when there is something we can all do about. There is a positive, practical and scientifically proven technique which allows our mind to be healthier and less distracted. Even better news is that this need only take only 10 minutes a day and it is free! It can have a massive impact on our whole life.
Most people assume meditation is about controlling the mind, but this is not the case. It is about stepping back and seeing the thought and emotions clearly, witnessing them coming and going with a relaxed focused mind.
But we need to know how to do it. Mindfulness meditation is essentially familiarising ourselves with the present moment. So how can we approach it in the right way to best the best out of it?
So what is meditation?
One definition is:
Meditation is a practice of concentrated focus upon a sound, object, visualization, the breath, movement, or attention itself in order to increase awareness of the present moment, reduce stress, promote relaxation, and enhance personal and spiritual growth.
The definition that I like the most is that meditation is making the gaps in-between our thoughts longer.
In his book A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle says that the space between thoughts probably arise sporadically. Why we have not been aware about these spaces is because our consciousness had been so mesmerized by experienced and conditioned to identify with form that it does not become aware of inner space. You may be tempted to look for the Gap. However, you will not be able to seek for space; it just arises.
“Discover inner space by creating gaps in the stream of thinking. Without those gaps, your thinking becomes repetitive, uninspired, devoid of any creative spark, which is how it still is for most people on the planet.”
Eckhart Tolle suggests breath meditation to help bring space into our lives. When we become conscious of our own breath, we are absolutely present. Conscious breathing stops the process of thinking. But we are not asleep in this state. We are fully awake. Meditation offers the arising of space consciousness.
In Deepak Chopra’s book The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, he talks about the Gap under the Law of Intention and Desire. Deepak shared that intention has an infinite organizing power. “Intention lays the groundwork for the effortless, spontaneous, frictionless flow of pure potentiality seeking expression from the unmanifest to the manifest.”
He then went on to outline the steps for manifesting our desires and getting them fulfilled in 5 steps. Here is the exact excerpt, making up the steps for 1 & 2:
(1) Slip into the gap. This means to centre yourself in that silent space between thoughts, to go into the silence – that level of Being which is your essential state.
(2) Establish in that state of Being, release your intentions and desires. When you are actually in the gap, there’s no thought, there’s no intention, but as you come out of the gap at the junction between the gap and a thought, you introduce intention. If you have a series of goals, you can write them down and have your intention focused on them before you go into the gap. If you want a successful career, for example, you go into the gap with that intention, and the intention will already be there as a faint flicker in your awareness. Releasing your intentions and desires in the gap means planting them in the fertile ground of pure potentiality, and expecting them to bloom when the season is right. You do not want to dig up the seeds of your desires to see if they are growing, or get rigidly attached to the way in which they unfold. You simply want to release them.
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I hope that Meditation Explained has given you a basic understanding about meditation, so that now you want to read more. There are many myths surrounding meditation. To read about the truth, please CLICK HERE to read my next article on meditation.
Chris Hunt is the creator of PilatesEVO. You can read more about Chris and his story by CLICKING HERE.